Every year, the African community of Kyiv meets to celebrate the New Year. This year, the party was held in an African restaurant where children and adults enjoyed traditional dances, music, and food from some of the 54 countries in Africa.
This celebration is also a way for children from mixed couples to remember their origins.
“You know, most of the Africans here, they have their family with Ukrainians and sometimes children forget their ancestors from African tradition and with such events, we want to show them that Africa is really rich and they should not forget their roots,” Teodorina Kamis-Vavryk, Secretary of African Council in Ukraine said.
According to Kamis-Vavryk, most Africans who live in Ukraine come from Nigeria, Ghana or Congo. More than 15,000 African students come to study in Ukraine each year.
“Life here is wonderful because you can meet lots of people from different nationalities express yourself in different ways and it’s very good… Just get into meet people all the time, interacting with them, getting to know their culture, their background. It’s very wonderful here in Ukraine,” said one young Nigerian woman who studies medicine in Kyiv.
Eight years ago, the African diaspora started gathering in Kyiv to celebrate the New Year. Then, only a few people came. But with each year, more and more people know about the event, thanks to the African Council NGO in Ukraine which organizes it.
Helping Africans to get well integrated in Ukraine is one of the African Council’s top missions.
“I can’t say that we have a big problem with racism here. Better to say this is no-experience having relationships with people so we need to show… to teach people from childhood how to communicate with people of different skins… Not only with citizens from African countries but also with Indians, Latin-America, of different races,” Yuriy Mohammed Kamara, Vice-President of African Council in Ukraine said.
In addition to dances and delicious cakes, the children also had the chance to receive gifts from Santa Claus.